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Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Tandy, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. Tandy

    Tandy New commenter

    In my article in TES today, I have highlighted and debunked some of the most common misconceptions about mastery I hear as I visit schools.

    I would love to hear from others about how mastery is being (mis)defined in your school.
    bevdex and Vince_Ulam like this.
  2. Ezioclone

    Ezioclone New commenter

    Hi Tandy.
    I'm not sure I agree with your main point here (which seems to be that you are very concerned at how the 'mastery' programme is actually being adopted/implemented in school).

    Whilst I'm sure you've heard all those things said, I suspect that many of them are just quick one-liners given by busy teachers to particularly emphasise the change(s) they've made in their teaching - and that what they are actually doing in practice is far more nuanced than the statements themselves.
    If you'd *seen* evidence of it being poorly/wrongly implemented in classrooms, then that would be very much more concerning, and I think there's a real danger that by being quite so critical you won't focus on the really key bits to correct/improve.

    Say the quote about 'we're only teaching place value in the first term of Year 7'. It might sound concerning, but the teacher might include in that teaching a wide range of 'using and applying' that concept (e.g. rounding; perimeters and areas and measurements, together with suitable roundings; significant figs,...). What they (might) be trying to emphasise is that throughout the first term, the prime concept their developing and attempting to master are operations related to place-value.

    Or, say the quote 'We have mastery indicator questions, which show when a child has mastered a concept”. Of course there's no finite set of questions that can really assure of mastery, but I think the quote is reflecting the fact that teachers are attempting to routinely include more challenging/diverse questions which test students' ability to apply knowledge. Of course this has always been a feature of good teaching, but its an area where UK teaching has been weak and it's good its being improved (albeit, sometimes, by prescribed questions written by HoDs etc.).

    I think what you've heard is lots of lazy language rather than widespread poor practice.

    I do agree with you that it's hugely frustrating to see old, well-proven ideas re-badged/re-branded as 'new', but that's a far wider problem than mastery in maths.

    Are you trying to make the programme better, or criticise it to destruction and then re-promote it properly?
  3. Tandy

    Tandy New commenter

    The blog was really a shorthand for the exceptionally bad practice, under the banner of mastery, that I have been seeing for quite some time now in schools across the country. I'm wouldn't have written it if I'd just heard a few people say silly things.

    If you are interested in what mastery really is, then you might like to read my other blog Teaching for Mastery.

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